Lelan Stallings owns 50 acres of land on the north side of Illinois 13. It happens to lie right in the middle of an annexation plan that city officials are trying to force down Stallings’ throat, just so they can get a Wal-Mart supercenter. The man who owns the land the superstore would actually sit on, has filed an annexation petition with the city — but he couldn’t get Stallings to sign on. Cliff Mills, who owns 48 acres of land that Wal-Mart wants, filed his petition in the Jackson County Circuit Clerk’s office. A hearing on the annexation petition will take place on December 20th. Mayor Ron Williams is all for the annexation, and does not appear disturbed by the fact that one major landowner is trying to protect his property rights by not being annexed. Stallings told The Southern newspaper that he has spoken to his lawyer and he’s taken aback that he might not be able to fight annexation if surrounded on all three sides by the city. “I don’t know how we’re going to stop it,” he said. “It looks right now like you can’t.” Stallings told the newspaper that he feels he was deceived about the annexation process. An anti-Wal-Mart group, the Friends for Fair Growth, is investigating the annexation petition, and what legally can be done to stop it.
This case is similar to the eminent domain cases where land is taken just to pave the way for a Wal-Mart supercenter. In this case, the police power being used by the city is annexation, not eminent domain — but the result is the same: a landowner who does not want his land incorporated into the city, is coerced into the deal, all for the benefit of a giant retail corporation and the landowner who will make millions from the deal.